Before the 1984 miners’ strike, the NUM was in a very strong powerful position, having defeated the government in 1972 and 1974 over wage levels. However unlike 1984, the miners voted overwhelmingly to back the union and strike, thus causing severe disruption as the UK was heavily dependent on coal at that time. Certainly, it was believed that these defeats contributed to the downfall of the previous conservative government in 1974. (Richards, 1996), since the Government had to call a state of emergency, the strikers remained united and not a single miner broke either strike. Consequently in 1974 the Government called the general election and famously asked “who governs Britain “the government or the miners? (Beynon)
The 1984 strike, in comparison was a fight to save jobs and mining communities, the conservative government had regained po...
... middle of paper ...
...pular tactic is to threaten to damage an employer’s reputation. (Personnel today, 2012). ACAS, on the other hand point to the positive role played by unions in resolving workplace disputes and that union officials were more inclined to assume a conciliatory rather than antagonistic approach when negotiating with employers. (ACAS, 2011)
In conclusion, employment relations have changed considerably since the 1980s. The falls in union membership triggered initially by the miners and print unions defeats, along with the legal constraints surrounding unions which were introduced by the conservative government and mostly retained by the labour party have all combined to reduce the impact of trade unions on present day employment relations. However unions and employers are adapting to these changes and adopting different approaches to managing industrial relations.
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